4 reasons to why having a bowl of smoothie – and not a glass – could be beneficial for you!
By Madhulika Dash
Now why would someone put smoothie in a bowl? The glass worked perfectly fine all these years. Yet believe it or not, 'smoothie in a bowl' is the new trend – and the best part is, it's not just limited to health world! Even food bloggers are crazy about what Shape magazine and Telegraph UK has termed as the next big breakfast fad. In fact, instagram has predicted 'smoothie in a bowl' as one of the big trends in 2015.
So is it a good time to ditch the straw and pick up the spoon? For that one needs to understand how smoothie came about? And why it became such a big health fad that survived the test of time.
Smoothies began their journey as fruit blend drink in West Coast in the early half of 1930s, but as a health drink they received recognition in the latter part of fit 70s, thanks to experts like Jane Fonda and others. It was between 1990 and 2000 that this ‘healthy power drink’ got all its publicity with Mirranda Kerr to Jennifer Aniston to even Jamie Oliver staging their favourite smoothie with great 'health benefits'. And suddenly you had these smoothie doling shops and cafes mushrooming everywhere, even inside the gyms and clubs – just in case you missed!
Did it work? It did and still does, says nutritionist Niti Desai, provided you knew what went into making the smoothie. Ordinarily a glass of smoothie (100 -150 ml is recommended by doctors) can be anywhere from 150 – 250 calories, and is considered healthy. However, some of the store bought smoothie can pack a whooper of 400 plus calories by the sheer quantity of ingredients used in that small glass."
Agrees nutritionist Sveta Bhassin, who believes that not only knowing what has gone into the smoothie but the quantity too is important. "A smoothie can claim to have berry, peanut butter, flaxseed and yogurt mix, but by the sheer change of quantity – for instance a large serving of peanut butter and a little extra milk for easy sipping – can transform a healthy drink to as unhealthy as a donut."
This acknowledgment lead to the newer versions of smoothies like the vegan smoothie which used almond milk instead of milk, protein rich smoothies that bought back power foods like flaxseeds, chia and hemp to the food scene, the popular yogurt/curd smoothie that took care of the cream and milk and of course the green smoothie that used greens and fruits to prepare the ultimate detox smoothie, which became the biggest health trend of 2012.
How really does a smoothie work? Smoothies are essentially pre-broken food items, which the body digests with relative ease than solid food. The fibre are pre-broken, though the body does have to work to fully digest it, and hence the time between digestion and the nutrients reaching the blood stream is visibly shortened. Thus explaining why you feel full and refreshed after a smoothie.
Incidentally, says Bhassin, "this is also the reason that there are times when we don’t feel fuller and go overboard with smoothies."
So how does shirking the straw for a spoon and glass for a bowl really help? Here are our reasons why Smoothie in a Bowl could be an interesting change.
One of the many reasons that smoothies in a glass cannot take many ingredients is that it has to be sip-pable, which means it cannot be too thick or take on more fibrous food. A smoothie in a bowl in the other hand can take all kinds of food since it has to be eaten with a spoon. “So you can blend cooked food with steamed food, solids with blended and chunks of fruit too,” says Chef Vikas Seth, who often uses hung yogurt as base to such smoothies in a bowl. “It gives you the necessary thickness and blends beautifully with most fruits,” he adds,
Healthy food are not really pleasing to the eye. This is a myth that smoothie in a bowl nixes. With the liberty of using fruits, nuts, seeds and even veggies the way you want – blended or as chunks – you can decorate the bowl to look pretty to the eyes, or in other words "food porn". Research has proven that anything that looks pleasing to the eye tastes invariably better than those that don’t. After all, we eat with our eyes first!
Given that the smoothie in a bowl is to be eaten, you can introduced super food as they are like chia, flaxseed, hemp, sattu – or chickpea flour, kale, acia and others as it is. You can actually make food healthier by poaching them which gets rid of any harmful chemicals like that in Spinach and other leafy vegetables. And make nuts a good part of your menu. Since a smoothie in a bowl is a combination of half blended and other solid food, it takes time to chew and you tend to feel fuller as compared to a smoothie in a glass since the body is actually digestion.
Research has also proved that chewing food actually helps in digestion. When you chew your food, you are not only chopping it into easy to swallow pieces, but also coating the food with saliva, which contains enzymes that assist in digestion. Thus making the bowl healthier than the glass!
Smoothie bowls can really be a nourishing, filling wholesome meal thanks to the playground it gives to include different forms of toppings to make it more appetizing. And while this earns the bowl more brownie point as a breakfast and snack alternative – which a glass of smoothie once was – there is a good chance that one may go overboard with the toppings. Why only toppings, the size of the bowl too can turn a healthy breakfast into the calorie-heavy, store bought granola bar. So here's how to make the balanced smoothie bowl: 1 or 2 part vegetable, 1 part fruit, 1 part protein, 1 part healthy fat (which your nuts are) and with 1/2 part of superfoods and two teaspoons of nutrient-dense food items like shredded coconut, chocolate, peanut butter and such.
And for the bowl, say experts, always keep a size that fits snugly into your open palm!
Abraham Chacko is completely self-taught cook who is an expert in recipes from Keralaknow more